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Three Down, Three to Go

Here's a current overview shot, from a little before India was wiped out.

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cordoba.jpg 334x352Three down, three to go. OK, Isabella's not technically down; she still has one iceberg, but I can wipe her away at my leisure whenever a loaded ship happens to sail her way. I'd parked that caravel there with instructions to declare war and kill if a settler-laden ship ever popped out of the city.

Presently, one of my cities celebrated "We Love the Despot" day. I laughed at that thought -- and then realized I'd had Monarchy for a millennium and had never revolted to Hereditary Rule. Well, I did so now, and doubled-up with a swap back to Caste System as well. In my two newest cities, I needed to pull the old trick of running an artist to pop the border. That was a consequence of all the variant rules. In a normal game, I'd whip a granary ASAP, then the theater ten turns later. But without tech trading, I'd never felt Drama worth the beakers to research, so my cheapest cultural building was a 90-hammer library. And the Walls variant rule would set back the whole granary-whip plan by about twenty turns, which was too long. And I hate whipping without first building the granary. So it was left to the artist caste to pop the borders.

If just one border pop in each city would've been enough, I would've just used religious missionaries to start the culture. But Pharsalos on India's island needed to reach the 100 level to pull in the gold, and I wasn't going to wait 100 turns for religion to do that. Also, I'm basically committed to Theocracy for the duration, and the two newest cities are just going to support economy, not units, so the religion really won't do anything for them besides the free culture, and it's not worth training and shipping missionaries just for that.

Also with Caste System, I hired several scientists in Sparta in hopes for a Great Person there to lightbulb something useful towards Chemistry. Sadly, my timing was way off, and the leader didn't arrive until the same turn Chemistry did. He was a Scientist, who I saved to lightbulb Printing Press later when I was ready for it.

In the shorter term after Chemistry, I finally researched Feudalism, and did indeed revolt to Vassalage (doubling up with Slavery back from Caste System as well.) Bureaucracy was no longer needed. The capital had the Heroic Epic which dwarfed the hammer bonus from Bureacracy. And I expected to cruise to victory on my current technology level, so the commerce wasn't important. Besides, I was shutting off research now to get cash to upgrade macemen to grenadiers.

I ran into some rules I hadn't known about, though. Units must be within your own territory, on land, to be eligible for upgrading. Units in neutral or enemy territory can't upgrade, and units in your water territory on a boat (ARGH) can't upgrade. And with the 6CC restriction, we can't keep any territory out afield where the units are. So every single maceman who wants to upgrade needs to return to a home island to do it.

Well, I guess that's still less restrictive than the requirement in all the previous versions of Civ to be in a home city with a barracks. A slight loophole is that units on a ship in port can still upgrade, so a loaded ship can move into a port, upgrade the units, and move along on the same turn, rather than spending three turns unloading, upgrading, and reloading. So eventually, most of the India-razing forces would sail through Thermopylae to pick up a supply of grenades.

Anyway, after wiping out India and healing and upgrading those units, it was time to go for the next target. Logistically it had to be Mansa Musa, who also happens to be the game score leader now.

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grenadier-cr3.jpg 449x473By the way, upgrading City Raider 3 macemen to grenadiers is just unfair. 98.6% odds ATTACKING OFF A BOAT. Now we're REALLY Vikings. Man, the world would be a scary place if the Norsemen had invented gunpowder.

boat-heal-trick.jpg 470x454And the mobility of the boats let me pull neat tricks like this. That galleon holds two grenadiers and one Medic catapult. The group had just razed a city there next to the rice, and now needed to heal before hitting that next city. Everybody loaded back into the ship, and the ship sailed to the friendly port of Chicago, to get faster healing for the units!

police.jpg 470x321And here's another little micromanagement trick. Athens had just built that galleon you see there, which was supposed to load up those grenadiers and go finish off Spain. I had the galleon move there with the grenadiers waiting in the city for one extra turn. It wouldn't slow the galleon to have the grenadiers load into the boat next turn instead of this one, and the grenadiers waiting meant they could act as police in the city for one extra turn while Athens builds a chariot (cheapest unit available) to replace one of them.

units.png 344x345By the way, my military is really not very large right now. Only 12 grenadiers and 8 catapults, sailing around on 7 galleons, plus a few leftover units policing the home cities. But I'm using what I've got very, very efficiently. Grenadiers with City Raider 2-3 will stomp defending longbows with almost no losses. And sailing around on Galleons, they can attack cities in turn as fast as they can heal.

Well, my scattered Vikings converged towards Mali's home cities, and it happened that most of my navy stacked up to pose for the camera for a moment:

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My entire military consisted of this stack, plus three single-galleon raiding parties, each carrying two grenadiers plus some kind of medic unit. The raiding parties were razing outlying cities that didn't need catapult support, while the catapult stack here went for the home cities.

Any galleon that managed 5 XP got promoted to Flanking + Navigation I for the extra movement. I renamed those, to tell them apart when loading units into the transports.

That screenshot says Philosophy, but I wasn't actually researching that; Printing Press had just finished and I'd just clicked on anything when the research popup came up. I actually researched Drama now, since the war weariness was mounting and I needed the culture slider to compensate.

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In 1610 AD, I razed Mansa's last city... or at least thought I did, but he didn't die. Must have one more city somewhere. I bought updated world maps from Washington and Mao, but neither showed the missing city. So I had to sign peace and extort his world map to finish the job later.

Speaking of unfinished jobs, I came back to finish off Spain as promised.

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Also, I took a pair of a leftover galley and chariot, and put them to work.

That pair kept methodically going through all the lands I'd razed, pillaging everything there to raise extra cash. They brought in a good 10 gold per turn on average, well worth their upkeep.

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